Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Last Day


It is 11:30am so only six and a half hours to go to the point where it is all over and I become an Immediate Past Master. However the ceremony will take place within the grandeur that is Merchant Taylor's Hall in Threadneedle Street, and amongst so many friends. Also I have been told that there are to be some surprises, so the excitement builds. Having mentioned the end, in fact I still have the interviews and recommendation of a new Clerk to the Court, a Special Court meeting, and the launch and delivery of Aim 1 of our new Strategic Plan, so still some action, but without the high profile.

Looking back, the year has been an emotional roller coaster with all aspects of it offering highs and lows. Most of these have been covered, to some extent, in my 99 blogs, each addressing a Marketor day. I am delighted to advise that I received over 1,000 hits per month so hopefully some of you now have an incite into the life of a Master and the history of the City of London, a very alive location. 

So what next? Well there is the company to roll out, the books to write, the various theatre projects, and of course the family and particularly Bea and I. But there will always be the Marketors and the many friends we have both made here and in the other Livery Companies throughout the City.

Thank you to the Marketors, and particularly the Court, for allowing us the honour of representing the Company throughout 2012. It has been an amazing experience, and one which we will never forget.

John Flynn
Master Marketor
(until 6:00pm tonight)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Gresham College


Gresham College was founded in 1597 and is now located in Barnard's Inn Hall, just off Holborn between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane; a location described by Charles Dickens in Great Expectations in the days when it was an Inn of Chancery. Although Gresham College no longer has pupils it still has ancient professorships in  Astronomy, Divinity, Geometry, Law, Music, Physic and Rhetoric, and in 1985 a Chair of Commerce was added. The result is over 150 lecture per year all of which are free to the public due to the generous sponsorship of the the Mercers and the Corporation.

So what drew the Mistress and I to Barnard's Inn for a 1:00pm lecture. The subject was "The Governance and Voting System of the City of London". While sounding somewhat dry and dusty, it was actually a fascinating subject. I must admit that the delivery by Prof Tony Travers of the London School of Economics did help. The development of the City came to life while we were bombarded with fact about the workings of the City, and comparisons with the Greater London Authority. For example, while the 32 GLA boroughs each have about 250,000 people living in them, the City only has 10,000 but employs over  300,000 people from elsewhere. Also the City's voters comprise of 25 Ward Aldermen and 100 others who make up the Court of Common Council. Oh, and there are no political parties, and residents and companies are allowed to vote. However it is the Livery Companies that vote in the two Sheriffs and a Lord Mayor each year.

Maybe this description does not excite you but do look at the Gresham programme, I can guarantee that there will be something there that will grab your attention. Just go to and have a look.
All papers are published on line, so you can catch up with topics missed, however it is better to be there as you get the Q&A that way. So my see you there.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Lord Mayor's Big Curry


The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch is a major annual initiative which takes place every April and is a lunch for 1,000 people in the Great Hall of the Guildhall. Hosted by the Lord Mayor, it is attended by City business people from UK and global companies and those working in the professions. The purpose is to raise money for ABF The Soldiers' Charity which supports soldiers and former soldiers and their families who have been affected by military service in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is expected that this one event will raise in the region of £250,000 on the day.

Such an achievement requires detailed organisation, and I am delighted to advise that, a few months ago, I was invited to join the 2013 Committee and have already attended my first meeting. Tonight however I was  in attendance at the Mansion House as the Master Marketor at a reception for the Livery Companies and Ward Clubs to launch the 2013 Lunch. Judging from the enthusiasm of the gathered throng it would seem that this is going to be another successful year for the Charity.

So do put the Thursday 18th April in your diary. Apart from a great lunch and excellent company there will a silent auction and draw prizes ranging from a night at the Mansion House through to tickets for Wimbledon, so definitely worth a flutter.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Chartered Institute of Marketing


The Worshipful Company of Marketors was founded by a small group of members of the Institute of Marketing, now the Chartered Institute of Marketing, who first formed a Guild and then developed it into a full blown Livery Company. And so it is not surprising that we were so well represented at the CIM AGM at their delightful headquarters of Moor Hall in the village of Cookham near Maidenhead. As usual we were first addressed by the Chairman, Andrew Harvey, the new Chair of the Board of Trustees and a Freeman of the Marketors. Unfortunately their President, and Past Master of the Marketors, Sir Paul Judge, could not be with us.

While the report was of a tough year (2011/12) which took a slight toll on both revenue and membership, the tide was clearly turning, helped by the new three year strategic plan which was ably presented by the new Chief Executive, Anne Godfrey. It was generally felt that, over the many years that some of us had been attending these meeting, this was the most forthright and realistic plan we had seen. So high hopes for the future of this 101 year old institution. 

Our relationship with the CIM is reflected in their support of The Marketor publication, participation in the Lord Mayors Show, etc., and our support for their Trust and various Awards.  Long may it continue.

And so back to London to the office at Plaisterers and thence to a meeting of our Think Tank at Delloittes. Another busy Marketors day.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Darby Thanksgiving


One of the duties of the Master is to attend Services of Thanksgiving for members who have passed on. As always it is an honour to represent the Company and invariably a delight to meet the families and learn of the other life of one of our members. On this occasion it was particularly poignant in that the service was for Geoff Darby who was Master of the Marketors in 1992, the year that he proposed me for membership of the Company. The service, being at the Parish Church of Chalfont St Peter's, meant my passing on the train such places as North Harrow and Pinner where I had lived about forty years ago, so another chance to reminisce.

The Marketors were represented in strength with two Wardens, six Past Masters, including a Founder Austin Nunn, together with partners and other members. The CIM was represented by Norman Waite, my old University chum, while several generations of the Darby family packed the delightful country church. At Geoff's request the service was identical to that performed for his wife Sheila several years before. As always the Readings and the Eulogy were an interesting incite into the life of the individual. Geoff's Eulogy was given by the Rev. Dr. Watkins, who had know Geoff since they were both lads. This meant that he was able to cover subjects ranging from his early girl friends through to the amazing contribution he had made to the world of fast moving consumer goods marketing.

Following a moving service we all transferred to the Ivy at Chalfont St Giles for refreshment, and an opportunity to get to know the members of Geoff's delightful extended family, all of whom made us most welcome.

John Flynn
Master Markeor


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Full Circle to the Plaisterers


The final event at which I represented the Marketors to the rest of the City was the Plaisterers "Masters and Clerks Dinner" in their Hall at One London Wall. The elegance of this modern hall was summed up by the Mistress when we first saw it over a year ago. At that time she she suggested that all lady diners should be required to wear crinolines when attending the Plaisterers. This delightful and spacious venue played host about 270 guests from over 50 companies. This was the ideal setting for my last formal event outside the Marketors, in that it was where I had my Installation Dinner almost a year ago, hence the full circle. It is also the site of our office and so the location of our Business Court Meetings which I have chaired  throughout the year.

As would be expected of the Plaisterers the four course meal was excellent as were the accompanying wines, etc. To complement these there were speeches from the Master, Gary Morley, with a response on behalf of the guests from the Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths' Company, The Lord Sutherland of Houndwood who chose the topic of education. We were also entertained by the jazz ensemble the Dunachie Quartet. However it was the toast to the Company by the Plaisterers Clerk, Nigel Bamping, which stole the show.

Being surrounded at the table by a Plaisterer, a Baker, a Cooper, an Actuary, a Silver Wyre Drawer and a Master Mariner the conversation flowed as did, at the end, the port. However, on leaving the Hall there was a sadness on my part knowing that this was the last time I would represent the Marketors at such an event. But then there was the thought of things to come in 2013 which lifted me on my walk home past the Guildhall, the Bank of England, the Monument and then over London Bridge .

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

That was the year that was.


For those of you that have read my entry in this months edition of The Marketor, stop now, the following is just that. But for those who want a final taste of the activities of the Master Marketor in 2012 then here we go.

A Masters year is usually eventful, but few can have experienced one quite as active as mine. There was the Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics, the Garden Party, the Lord Mayors Show, plus, of course, the very many formal events where the Mistress and I, either together or separately, where honoured to represent the Worshipful Company of Marketors. And then there was the Op which, despite it going wrong, did not hold me back too much. And so a great year with, at the time of writing, some events still to come.

On becoming Master, it is written that you are the most senior member of the Company. However you soon realise that while this might be the case, it is the Court which rightly make the key decisions. This year its key decision has related to the restructuring of the support activities, and also the infrastructure, of the Company. A move which, I am sure, will serve to better direct the activities of the Company in addressing our Aims and Objectives as described in our new Royal Charter.

So what have been the highlights? Well it is difficult to say. Having written over 90 blogs so far, each representing a day within which up to five events occurred, maybe I should get the 1,000 plus readers each month to vote. But no, I guess the choice is between the extremely moving Installation Ceremony and Dinner, and the Spring Luncheon and Service which was my first event after returning to the fold. But then there was the Court Dinner (see previous blog). Mind you, Prince Charles greeting the Mistress at their Garden Party with “Mrs Flynn, so glad you could come” will take some beating, as will my meeting the Queen at one of Prince Phillips birthday events.

So what has been achieved in this time? As mentioned before, the implementing of the strategic plan is, I believe, crucial to the future of the Company. Then there is the establishment of the Law and Marketing Group which addresses a specific requirement of the Royal Charter, and a need in the broader marketing community. I am also particularly proud of introducing an annual Common Hall, an opportunity for Liverymen to regularly receive a report on the current position of the Company and its plans for the future. Other events, which will hopefully be repeated, include the Monmouth Initiative with the Haberdashers, and the Marketing Ethics question time at St Brides. 

This is usually the point where one expresses gratitude for the support of the family, “without whom…etc”. This time it is with real feeling. As one of my sons put it “My Dad, oh he died, but he is better now”. While I was unconscious, my family went through an horrific time, and then Brenda in particular had the lengthy recovery period with which to cope. Add to that the pressures of being the Mistress of a Livery Company and I have a lot for which to be grateful.

And so to the future. The first of the four Aims of the new strategy is “To actively support the Mayoralty and the City of London Corporation” and is led by the Immediate Past Master, which next year is, of course, me. So that is it. I will still have some purpose in the Marketors even as I step down.

Thank you all for your support, and for those that have followed my blog, thank you for the interest.

John Flynn
Master Marketor